Book rental program expands to half of inventory

Katherine Sproles

After saving more than $150 this semester, Bowling Green freshman Sam Brown is now a firm believer in renting her books.

This is the second consecutive semester the WKU Store is offering rental textbooks, and more students like Brown are choosing to save with the rental option.

The WKU Store chose to expand their rental selection this year specifically to save students money.

Shawna Turner, director of the bookstore in the Downing Student Union, said she empathized with students struggling to pay for books.

“I was a student here myself,” Turner said. “I remember how much books cost.”

After last semester’s rental success, the store expanded its selection from about 30 titles to more than 50 percent of their total inventory this year, Turner said.

“Right now we are trying to educate the faculty on what types of books can be rented and what types are not rentable,” Turner said. “If your class requires a workbook where you have to tear out pages, we can’t rent that.

“Rentals work very similar to buying new or used books at the store.”

Unlike the bought books, rental books will have a sticker on the front cover explaining the rental agreement. Students should return their books about five days after their class is over for the semester.

If the book isn’t returned, students are billed based on the status of the book.

If the book was rented new, students will be billed the full retail price. If used, students pay the used price minus what they have already paid in their rental fee.

Rentals aren’t just a good option for those trying to save cash. Anyone taking a general education course could benefit from renting their book.

“Unless [a book is] in their major, typically students don’t want to keep their books,” Turner said.

Unlike books rented from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, students can write or highlight in the books rented from the WKU Store.

According to Turner, books can be returned back with no extra fines if they are in decent condition with no missing pages, no water damage and the front and back covers are intact.

Turner gave an example of how students can save by renting books. One psychology textbook the bookstore sells, Turner said, costs around $100. Renting the book however, only costs $60.

For Brown, one of the biggest motivations to rent was money.

“Every little bit helps when it comes to saving money,” she said.

Brown said even students that are unsure about renting their books should think twice.

“Students might be uneasy to rent their books because they feel that since they’re paying so much money to rent books they might as well just buy them,” she said. “But unless you’re planning to read your College Algebra 119 textbook anytime after the course is over, then I suggest renting.”

As for the future of the rental program, Turner said they are looking to expand.

“Right now, we are trying to educate students that we actually have a rental program,” Turner said.